It was only a matter of time before one of us got hurt. I (John) had some sort of bug bite on my leg. Perhaps it was a spider bite or maybe just a mosquito bite-gone-bad. We’ll probably never know. Whatever insect did this to me; my leg was not looking pretty. Maybe being on my legs for two days straight during our trek up the tallest mountain in Central America aggravated the bite. Or perhaps it was contorting my leg during an extremely cramped chicken bus ride we’d been traveling on made matters worse. Whatever the cause, it wasn’t looking good.
It only started as a small bite. My former coworkers had sent me off with Dora the Explorer Band-Aids and I used every single one. The Guatemalan children laughed and pointed at the pink Band-Aids covering my right leg. Eventually the sore grew so big that I simply used the adhesive of the Band-Aids to attached larger bandages with. Then my leg got so swollen, you could not see where my leg ended and my ankles begin. The leg was turning red. I could feel the pain, particularly while walking and putting preasure on it. And I won’t even begin to describe the nasty substances that were oozing out of the open wound. Soon there were not enough bandages in Guatemala to keep up with it as I was replacing the bandage almost hourly. Um, was my leg going to fall off? Ok, it was definitely time to see a doctor!
Since I was enrolled in Spanish school at the time, my professor accompanied me to the doctor to help translate if necessary. The doctor cleaned up the open wound, diagnosed it as a skin infection, and wrote me two prescriptions: Flamydol Retard for the swelling and Klaricid antibiotics for the infection itself. My entire doctor appointment came out to a whopping US$19.38! I still can’t believe how inexpensive it was to get professional medical treatment outside of the US and that was probably the inflated gringo pricing. The cost of the antibiotics however was the price I am accustomed to finding back in the states. The travel insurance policy we took out before leaving should cover it all in full though, which reminds me I still need to submit that paperwork.
Anyhow, the doctor ordered me to stay off my leg for at least a week. We scrapped plans to do more volcano ascents and other adventurous activities and instead took it easy to let my leg to heal. It worked out well that we were staying situated in Xela to study Spanish for the week.
The wound didn’t seem to get much better until about a week later when the antibiotics seemed to finally work their magic. Its now several weeks later (yes, we’re a bit behind on this blog) and although its still not completely healed, my shin is looking worlds better.. My leg didn’t fall off and we are back to climbing volcanoes again. But I am left wondering if hair will ever grow back on my shin. I suppose time will tell. On to the next!